Killer's ex-wife awaits closure
William Bradford is on death row for murdering two aspiring models. His ex-wife says she won't feel safe until he is executed.
By ANDREA CHANG
Published August 8, 2006
Cindy Sue Horton married William Richard Bradford nearly 30 years ago. Now she can't wait for the day when she will get to watch him die.
Horton, 48, is the ex-wife of double murderer Bradford, an inmate on death row in California. Bradford, 60, was convicted in 1987 of killing two aspiring models. Police now say there could be many more victims.
After reopening Bradford's case in June, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released a poster on July 25 with photographs seized from Bradford's home in 1984.
It held 54 images of women.
Horton is No. 23.
Police are concerned that some of the pictured women could have been victims of rape or murder between 1975 and 1984.
"We took what we believe were women in various stages of dress and undress and sexual activity," said Sgt. Robert Taylor of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Horton, who lives in the Tampa Bay area, asked that her maiden name be used rather than her legal name to protect her identity and her children.
Horton met Bradford in California when she was 15. He told her she was beautiful and promised to help her become a model. They married in Michigan in 1977, when she was 19 years old.
"He was quite the talker," she said. "He'd treat you really, really good until he could get his clutches in you."
During their marriage, her husband treated her "like a piece of garbage."
"He beat me and raped me in front of my children," she said. "He kept me hostage with threats of killing my children and my parents and my family and my friends. He enjoyed torturing me."
Horton said she went to the police several times, but they waved off her complaints as domestic disputes.
She ran away from Bradford in 1978 after he threatened to cut up her two young sons "into little bitty pieces and blow them up."
She fled to California, where she said Bradford followed her and begged her to come back. When she refused, he beat and attempted to strangle her.
The last time she saw him was during his trial in California, when she testified against him. She later worked as a bartender, a truck driver and in child care. But the memory of Bradford continues to haunt her.
She still has nightmares. She keeps her doors and windows locked at all hours of the day. When she drives, she constantly checks her rearview mirror - worried that she'll see him following her.
"He told me he's going to kill my children and make me watch, and he's going to kill me," she said. "So long as the man is still alive, I still believe he can do this. He has always done what he said he could do and gotten away with it."
Horton said officials have contacted her to ask if she would like to be present when Bradford is executed. She told them yes.
"I know I won't believe he's dead until I see it with my own two eyes," she said.
She has been told by doctors she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, acute anxiety, depression and panic attacks. She is disabled and unemployed. But the mother of four and grandmother of eight said she refuses to be labeled a victim.
"I'm a survivor," she said. "I survived Bill Bradford. I can survive anything."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.